As temperatures hit 30C in a country ill-prepared to deal with heatwaves, the UK’s largest trade union body is calling on the government to bring in legislation to stop workers overheating on the job.
Bosses should be required to halt operations when indoor temperatures reach 30C, or 27C for those doing strenuous work such as manual labour, according to The Trades Union Congress (TUC), which represents Britain’s major trade unions.
There is currently no legal minimum or maximum temperature for UK workplaces. The government’s Health and Safety Executive recommends a minimum of at least 16C, or 13C if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort but, as with all recommendations, this is not mandatory.
“Working in sweltering conditions can be unbearable and dangerous,” said TUC general secretaryPaul Nowak,“whether it’s in an overheated shop, a baking office or outdoors in the direct sun.”
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The risks of overheating at work were on full display during a rehearsal for the trooping the colour military parade in central London on Sunday, when three soldiers collapsed under the 30C heat.
This prompted Prince William to acknowledge the “difficult conditions”, thanking every soldier who took part.